Fiji’s Josua Tuisova stays with Rugby World Cup teammates after son’s death

Fiji’s Josua Tuisova stays with Rugby World Cup teammates after son’s death
  • PublishedOctober 6, 2023

Fijian Rugby World Cup centre Josua Tuisova has missed the funeral of his seven-year-old son after opting to stay in France with his teammates.

Tuisova, who was man of the match in Fiji’s upset Rugby World Cup win over Australia, was told the heartbreaking news from his father Isikeli Ratulevu shortly before playing against Georgia on Saturday.

He also made the decision to stay in France as Fiji are a single point from making the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals for the third time.

Tuisova helped Fiji turn around a 9-0 halftime deficit into a 17-12 victory against the Georgians, although he was sin-binned a minute from time due to a high tackle.

Tuisova was also praised for signing autographs for 30 minutes after the Georgia game to sign autographs.

Tuisova vs the Wallabies. Photo by Olivier CHASSIGNOLE / AFP

Tuisova vs the Wallabies. Photo by Olivier CHASSIGNOLE / AFP

Former All Blacks and sporting great Sonny Bill Williams said he was “heartbroken” about the news, taking to social media to show his support.

“Man only just heard the news. My heart hurts for my Fijian brother. Sending love to you and your family,” he wrote. “You are an inspiration to many around the world bro.”

Former England Rugby Sevens captain turned commentator Rob Vickerman tweeted: “I actually can’t comprehend this – talk about a sacrifice. Beyond devastating, but I hope somehow Rugby is a sanctuary. Fiji are an incredibly spiritual group- so I hope that helps the man we love to watch so much.”

Fiji are a huge chance to move on as they play minnows Portugal on Sunday to progress to their first quarter-final since 2007 at the expense of the Wallabies.

Tuisova, who scored a try in the 22-15 pool win over Australia, will be a pivotal player for the Fijians in a likely quarter-final match-up with England, who they beat for the first time at Twickenham in August.

Tuisova scores against the Wallabies. Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The tragic news was revealed last week by the Fijian team.

“With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of our beloved Tito Micgabraph Donzel Ratulevu,” a statement in Fiji read last Friday.

“He is the son of Mr Josua Tuisova and Mrs Katarina Ladoge Ramoce.

“Affectionately known as ‘Tito,’ he peacefully departed after a prolonged battle with a debilitating illness in Lautoka hospital.”

Fiji’s head coach Simon Raiwalui said at a press conference on Tuesday it was a private matter.

“I will address that straight away,” he said when the question was raised.

“Jos has asked respectfully it not to be discussed so it won’t be discussed but keep it private.”


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